So many of us are fearful right now. Every day there are more horror stories in the news, pictures of death on the front page of the paper. We’re inundated with statistics about how many people tested positive yesterday, how many people died, the latest frightening statistics. It’s no wonder that anxiety is part of the new normal.
We wake up in the morning with a feeling of dread. Another day full of uncertainty and fear. The stock market tanks. There isn’t any toilet paper at the store. People wearing masks seem to be everywhere, furthering our disconnect from one another. And we feel powerless to do anything to make things better. Even worse, we can’t even imagine anything we can do that will help to make this go away.
So what can we do? Is there anything? Are we destined to go on day after day watching the world as we know it fall apart? Or can we find a way to steady our canoe and ride out the storm?
Anxiety is unique in that it is a self-perpetuating feeling. The more anxious we are, the less we are able to see our situation clearly and the bigger the anxiety becomes. It is normal to feel anxiety these days in the midst of something none of us have ever experienced. It would be strange for someone not to experience an anxious moment or two. However, anxiety becomes pathological when we feed it. And this is something we can control.
You’ve heard all of this before, but I will say it again. Turn off the devices. Turn off the TV. Turn off the news. Put the newspaper away. Take away anything that feeds the fear. Not forever, just for this moment. Then, go outside. Look at the sky. Listen to the spring birds. Listen to the wind and feel it blowing across your body. Allow yourself to be okay just for this moment. Breathe. Breathe some more. Notice the sunshine, the fresh, new green on the trees. See the happy dogs being walked. Breathe the beautifully clean air. Allow yourself to live now, when everything is OK, just for this moment.
Give yourself permission to continue to live your life.
Practice this regularly until you feel the grip of today’s story lessen. Live life. Breathe.